Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Fawcett's Summary Of His Argument So Far

Fawcett (2010: 106):
We noted in Chapter 5 that what is missing in "Systemic theory" is an account of those concepts that are required to describe the instances of language at the level of form i.e., the concepts of "Categories". But we have seen in the present chapter that, despite initial appearances, these concepts are still in use in IFG — if only in the background. 
There are two main reasons for the very considerable differences between the concepts presented in "Categories" and "Systemic theory": (1) the changes to the theory in the 1960s (as outlined in Chapter 4), which have removed the concept of the system from the level of form, and (2) the unexplained lack in "Systemic theory" of a section on the outputs at this level. The lack of a specification of a theory of the 'syntax of instances' in IFG means that Halliday has not made a statement about this aspect of the theory since 1961. Yet, as we saw in the last section, this is an essential part of a full theory of syntax.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is very misleading. As previously explained, "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) is an encyclopædia entry that sets out the architecture, history and development of Systemic Theory in 3 pages.  It stresses that system, not structure, is the fundamental organising concept of the theory.  (By 'instances at the level of form', Fawcett means grammatical structure.)

[2] This is very misleading.  As previously explained, IFG (Halliday 1994) provides the grammatical structures that realise grammatical systems, organised according to rank scale, because rank units constitute the entry conditions to the systems that specify grammatical structures.

[3] This is misleading. To be clear, the single most important reason for the differences in "Categories" (Halliday 1961) and "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) is that they outline different grammatical theories: the former sets out Scale-&-Category Grammar, while latter sets out Systemic Functional Grammar.

[4] This is very misleading, because it misrepresents Fawcett's model as Halliday's.  The 'level of form' is Fawcett's model, not Halliday's, and the absence of the concept of system at the level of form is Fawcett's model, not Halliday's.  Halliday's model distinguishes linguistic strata as semantics, lexicogrammar and phonology/graphology, with systems posited for each stratum.  Grammatical form is modelled as a rank scale of units, with each unit providing the entry condition to systems of functional features at that rank.

[5] This is misleading.  'Syntax' is Fawcett's model, not Halliday's. Halliday explicitly rejects the "syntax" approach to grammatical theorising, as he made clear in the first two editions of IFG. Halliday (1994: xiv):

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